Individual World Poetry Slam FAQ

What is the Individual World Poetry Slam?

The Individual World Poetry Slam , or iWPS is a performance poetry tournament much like NPS, though designed for individual competition. Poets from all over the world meet and compete in a multi-day performance poetry contest.

How big is the Individual World Poetry Slam?

The event is generally limited to 96 contestants. While the National Poetry Slam is significantly larger, we have kept a strict limit on this event on purpose. It’s a smaller, more intimate festival with all the of the excellence and excitement of the much larger National Poetry Slam. But because the event is exclusive, the quality of the competition is…well…the best in the world. In some cases, the field of competitors may be expanded due to demand, ticket sales, and poet participation.

Who can compete in iWPS?

Certified venues have the first right to register, and as many as 60 certified venues can register their rep before the registration opens up to storm poets. Should more than 60 certified venues register a representative, the first 60 will be guaranteed spots, and the remaining certified venues will be considered with the “Storm” poets and registered venues. Once registration opens up for storm poets, the storm poets, the registered venues, and the certified venue reps that came in after the venue deadline are entered into the draw for spots. When we have more people register than we have available spots, the spots are awarded by random draw, which will be conducted the weekend after registration closes.

When does iWPS take place?

iWPS is held in the fall, usually in October. The “Last Chance” slam typically takes place on a Wednesday night, then Preliminary rounds of the competition take place on Thursday and Friday, and the Finals on Saturday.

Check the official site for dates as soon as they are announced.

What is the format for iWPS?

It is a uniquely structured event and PSi is happy to have modified the typical 3-minute poem format for this tournament. Each poet reads two poems on each preliminary night.

On the first night of bouts, the order in which the poets perform in both the first and second rounds is randomly assigned by a draw (which takes place during registration).
Each bout consists of twelve poets, who have been divided into two six-person competition groups (Group A & B), as well as a calibration poet for each round.

Poets read a four-minute (or less) poem in the first round. In the second, they read a one-minute (or less) poem. On the second night of competition, poets will read against a different slate of poets and most of them will be in a different venue. In the first round, they will read a two-minute (or less) poem. In the second round, they will read a three minute (or less) poem.

At the conclusion of each poem, the poet will receive a ranking of 1-6 based on placement within competition groups.

For clarity, this is what a bout would look like:

BOUT 1

Calibration

Group A
Poet I
Poet II
Poet III
Poet IV
Poet V
Poet VI

All poets perform first round, then all poets in same group perform second round with calibration between rounds. [Please note, Poets I-VI are only competing against the other poets in their group and will receive a rank of 1-6 after each round.]

Calibration

Group B (same MC, BM, & Judges as Group A)
Poet VII
Poet VIII
Poet IX
Poet X
Poet XI
Poet XII

All poets perform first round, then all poets in same group perform second round with calibration between rounds. [Please note, Poets VII-XII are only competing against the other poets in their group and will receive a rank of 1-6 after each round.]

Bout Over

Finals

After the preliminary bouts are completed, the poets with the highest scores and ranks advance to the finals. The poet next in line for Finals is designated the calibration poet. All poems in the finals are three-minute (or less) poems. No poems may be repeated during the tournament. Finals for the Individual World Poetry Slam will include the top scoring and ranking poets according to the following scale:

83 or fewer competitors – 12 finalists
84-95 competitors – 13 finalists
96-107 competitors – 14 finalists
108-119 competitors – 15 finalists
120 or more competitors – 16 finalists

All finalists read, the top seven move to the second round. All seven poets read another poem and the top four go to the final round. The four read one more poem and the high score of that round is the Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. If there is a tie between the top two poets, they read one more poem in a sudden death match. Judges indicate which poet they prefer and the champion is crowned.